On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, May 28, 2019:

Rocker in the makingWhen I left you last week, David and I were both tired and sore from a week of climbing and crawling around on a ladder and porch railings to paint and to mount sheets of foam insulation on the ceiling of our new front porch. This week we had several days to rest and recuperate.

Monday we drove to Fort Worth to attend our grandson’s jazz band concert. An amazing performance was presented by all the students, especially by Mattias who I still can’t believe is in high school. We spent the night to avoid getting home well past the witching hour. It also allowed us to visit over breakfast and lunch before heading for home.

The schedule for the rest of the week was full, but by Saturday we were out of excuses. Well, I had one excuse – an online book event that required a bit of promo work. While I was on the computer, David put on his work clothes and headed outside. It wasn’t more than five minutes when I heard him calling me.

“Linda, I need your help for a minute.”

I stepped just out the door and asked, “What do ya’ need?”

“Come down here and lift up on the front of this ladder.”

He was standing between the ladder and the porch steps, and if I had been paying attention, I would have wondered why he needed help with an aluminum ladder he normally moved around at will. But my mind was still somewhere in cyberspace, so I went down the steps to help. It wasn’t until I was at his level that I realized what had happened. He wasn’t standing next to the ladder – he was on the bottom step. One leg of the ladder had apparently sunk into a gopher or mole run, and as it tilted, it had pinned David into the corner between the steps and the railing.

Once we had two legs of the ladder back on solid ground and the other two on a leftover strip of one-by-four, I told him to wait a minute while I went inside and changed into my work clothes. The task he was tackling was removing a half-inch or so from the top of one of the support posts so we could slide a sheet of foam between it and the ceiling. I didn’t want the ladder shifting while he was eight feet in the air with a twenty-five pound reciprocating saw.

He accomplished his task with no more drama, so we moved onto the main deck of the porch where we spent the next six hours installing the last four sections of insulation. David actually did most of the work while I steadied the ladder and handed him stuff like roofing nails, the hammer, and even that monster of a saw a couple of times. I also did most of the measuring before he cut the panels with a razor blade. After trying several different cutting tools, we had decided we got the best edge with a simple razor blade, but that meant the panel had to be flat on the floor and he had to kneel over it. At one point the morning sun was shining right on his cutting line, and he was having trouble seeing it. So I stood on the sunny side of the porch and provided shade for his work area. Aside from rescuing him from being crushed by the ladder, it was probably the most helpful thing I did all day – that and providing snacks and lunch.

That’s not completely true. Measuring an almost eight-foot space accurately and then handling an almost eight-foot sheet of flexible foam requires more than two hands, so I did my share of climbing and twisting. At one point, David needed to be at my end of a panel, but he couldn’t let go of his end without it falling. So I made him scoot as far to one side of the ladder as he could, and I climbed up beside him to hold the panel. I’m sure we exceeded the weight limit of the ladder, but he had one foot on the railing, so I guess it was okay.

With all the food breaks I mentioned earlier, and all the other breaks we took for David in Rockerhuffing, puffing, and resting, we probably really worked for only about two hours. During one of the breaks, David asked me if I was going to put one of the rockers together. I said sure, but it was another of those four-handed jobs, so before long we were both knee deep in chair parts. That’s good though, because I had only brought one camp chair onto the porch a couple of weeks before. When the rocker was finished, we both had a place to sit during breaks.

We did finally get all the ceiling panels installed. All we have left to do is to caulk some of the places where our cuts weren’t exactly perfect and to finish the painting. In the meantime, I’m loving this new addition to our house. I sat and rocked while I had my coffee and did my Bible reading Sunday morning, and I’m enjoying the afternoon breeze as I write this article. We have no plans for Monday, so I’m hoping to assemble the other rocker. I’m still looking for additional seating, but we have more camping chairs in the RV. So if you’re in our part of the county, come on by for a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade, and we can “set a spell.”




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